Results continue to be poor in rural areas

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Schools in rural KwaZulu-Natal continued to achieve dismal matric results this year to the dismay of the provincial education department.

Cassius Lubisi, head of the department, blamed the poor results on the new curriculum and the legacy of apartheid.

"When you look at the statistics, the lower end is predominantly in the rural areas, where teachers and learners had difficulty in grasping the new curriculum. The trend has been the same over the years, but has be-come more visible this year," he said.

Schools with the worst results were mainly in the Um-khanyakude, Zululand and Empangeni districts.

He said one of the main causes for this was poverty and under-development.

"Again, it is clear that the apartheid legacies, the legacy of the past, are as resilient [as in the past]. Educational opportunity is determined by the socioeconomic trends where you find learners coming from poor areas.

"Where there's no water, electricity or television and where the level of income of a parent is low, the chance of that learner passing is low."

Lubisi also took a swipe at the examiners. He said they had set tough papers in accounting and physical science, subjects where the failure rate was very high.

"Those two were particularly badly set papers. Maybe the change in content was another reason many learners failed these subjects, but the main factor was that examiners went overboard in setting these papers.

"We even told the examiners that these were supposed to be matric papers and not university papers."

Lubisi said that he was happy with the results in isi-Zulu and in mathematical literacy.

He attributed the high pass rate in mathematical literacy to the department's efforts, which included sending teachers to university to obtain diplomas in the new subject.

lSome rural results: Obonjeni 11365 sat, 4406 passed; Vryheid 13797 wrote, 7730 passed; Empangeni: 14386 wrote, 6956 passed.